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Immersive Technologies and GIS                                        Integrating the Physical and Virtual                ...
C. Computing Technologies                   IBM 5120 Desktop Computer     The early computers used in businesses and homes...
relationships in which our behaviour evolves and modifiesover time as we get to know people.    Through devices like the M...
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Immersive Technologies and GIS -Integrating the physical and virtual


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Albena Bulgaria Cartography and GIS Conference Paper

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Immersive Technologies and GIS -Integrating the physical and virtual

  1. 1. Immersive Technologies and GIS Integrating the Physical and Virtual David Wortley FRSA Senior Research Fellow Immersive Technology Strategies Leicester, United Kingdom david@davidwortley.comAbstract—This paper describes the trends in GIS Innovation activity, there has been a remarkable transformation in the leveldriven by the immersive technologies of video games, virtual of operator skill, intelligence and knowledge required to makeworlds and social networks and examines the potential impact of effective use of machines and technology. These are just a fewthese innovations on society examples. Keywords-component; immersive technologies, serious games, B. Transport TechnologiesGIS , personalisation, knowledge I. INTRODUCTION Immersive Technologies such as serious games, virtualworlds and social networks are a very influential driver forinnovation because of their success in engaging thediscretionary time, attention and income of their users. Thisinvestment in time, attention and money translates itself intothe commercial value of research and development of devicesand applications which better engage technology users and/ormake products and services accessible to the widest possibleconsumer market. These devices and applications are shapingour use of technology in ways which are developing highlypersonalised relationships between users and various digital Dashboard of Fiat 500 with Sat Navdevices such that the devices themselves provide a uniqueinterface experience to the user which increasingly requires Transport technologies are one example of how humankindlower levels of skill and knowledge to access because the has sought to break down the barriers of time, space and statedomain knowledge is embedded in the device and/or to enable people to travel further and faster. Where onceapplication. humans harnessed the power of animals to achieve this goal, with the industrial revolution and steam power, mankind could These new types of relationships between humans and operate a machine to transport people and goods to new placescomputers are maturing rapidly and in the process, they are at faster speeds. The early steam engines and motor carsbreaking down the barriers between the physical and virtual required a whole spectrum of human senses, intelligence and experience to operate efficiently and the necessary skills and/orworld. This paper and presentation will illustrate by example knowledge could take years of training and practice to acquire.some of the recent innovations in immersive technologies Without this skill, experience and knowledge the transportwhich combine very natural, almost invisible interfaces with systems of yesteryear would not function at all.artificial intelligence, image processing, sensor devices anduser profiling / personalisation tools. Today, most of this skill and intelligence has been embedded in the vehicles themselves so that even budget cars II. HUMAN INTELLIGENCE AND MACHINES such as the Fiat 500 have Satellite Navigation and a range of telemetry and sensor data which, coupled with the vastlyA. Historical Perspective improved reliability of modern cars means that drivers can just In the early days of any new machine or technology get into a vehicle, start it up and easily navigate to theirdesigned and built by humans, the operation of that machine to destination. These GIS related technologies in cars, lorries,optimum performance required operator skill, experience, ships and planes substantially reduces the need for human skillunderstanding and intelligence. To a large extent, the skill and and experience.experience of the human operator compensated for deficienciesin the man-machine interface. In almost every sphere of human
  2. 2. C. Computing Technologies IBM 5120 Desktop Computer The early computers used in businesses and homes werelittle more than sophisticated calculators and offered a “onesize fits all” solution with no sense or intelligence of their ownto be able to offer personalized services based on the locationof the computer and/or the needs/characteristics of the user. Today, tablet computers like the iPad with 64GB of solidstate memory and smart phones all have incorporatedtechnology that gives the devices the ability to recognize theirlocation and also respond to the users’ behaviour. These kinds of capabilities, when linked to cloud The Apollo mission in Second Lifecomputing and sophisticated search and analysis functionality, The increasing fidelity of 3D visualization used in videomean that highly mobile devices have the ability to almost games and virtual worlds means that we can replicate real-become an extension of the user, reflecting their interests, world physical spaces from the present, past and future in anneeds and desires to deliver a range of customized location immersive virtual environment that our avatar representationsbased services. can freely navigate under our control and, in the future, will be III THE ROLE OF VIDEO GAMES AND INTERFACE able to live and act autonomously through the use of artificialTECHNOLOGIES intelligence. The global video games market size was estimated to be IV IMMERSIVE TECHNOLOGIES, PERSONALISATION$60.4 billion in 2009 and is forecast to rise to over $70 billion AND GISby 2015. Video games generate more revenue than either the In parallel with the innovations in video games and virtualmovie industry or the music industry and because of their worlds, social networking applications have also been drivingcommercial value, the market for video games is highly developments in GIS and location based services. The successcompetitive and commands substantial investment in of the whole spectrum of immersive technologies evidencedemerging technologies which provide competitive advantage by the number subscribers to social media sites like Facebook,to the developers. MySpace, Twitter and Youtube is in no small way attributable It is this investment in the Research and Development to the ability of these applications to be personalised by thenecessary to find ever more engaging ways to immerse the user. This personalisation gives the user control of how theyuser sufficiently that has led to the development of are represented in these virtual spaces either through theirtechnologies and applications which address some of the most personal profile or the design of the avatar alter ego.basic human needs. Human beings, uniquely of all living Personal Relationships with computing technologies are acreatures have the desire and the ability to break the natural fast growing development area for location based applications.barriers of time, space and state that our physical make up Computing in the areas of video games, virtual worlds andconstrains us to. We are motivated constantly to be able to social networking has a strong emphasis on technologytravel anywhere in time and space at will and instantly. Virtual developments which recognise the user and dynamically shapeworlds like Second Life allow us to do this. the interface to the user according to the individual’s preferences, capabilities and interests. In this way, the technology is learning to mimic the nature of human to human
  3. 3. relationships in which our behaviour evolves and modifiesover time as we get to know people. Through devices like the Mirosoft Kinect with its voiceand facial recognition technologies, as well as other proactivebiometric security technologies, computing devices are gettingbetter at being able to identify an individual and therefore self-configure according to the knowledge of that individual. Inaddition, once a user is “recognised” and logged-on, otherbackground artificial intelligence technologies begin tomonitor the way the individual uses the technology in order toshape the interface and content to the individual. This phenomenon of personalisation and virtualrepresentation of the user in a social networking application isnow being successfully used in internet dating web sites andalso many commercial internal knowledge networks thatcompanies use to leverage their human resources. As thesetechnologies continue to develop and mature, it is veryconceivable that our avatars will use artificial intelligence tonavigate these “mirror” worlds and autonomously buildrelationships with other virtual citizens that could deliver real-world benefits to their “owner”. V. CONCLUSION Breaking down the barriers of time, space and state hasbeen a constant ambition since the dawn of time. Generationsof citizens of this planet have used their senses, intelligenceand skills to overcome the physical limitations of our bodies,aided by technology that can transport us to new places andnew experiences in ever shorter timescales. I believe that mankind has reached a “tipping point” atwhich we have embedded human-like senses, intelligence andjudgement into the technologies that are becoming ubiquitousand accessible to almost everyone. The next phase ofdevelopment, predicted in many ways by visionaries like RayKurtzweil, would be for human beings and technologies toincreasingly merge in a combined physical/virtualenvironment in which the borders between the real and virtualae almost invisible.